After a 3-1 victory over the West Indies, Pakistan will walk into Barbados with the momentum backing them. With a young and exciting team led by a new captain in the form of Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan will look to push on and secure the automatic 2019 World Cup qualification. While Pakistan will need to win just one game to strengthen their position at No.8 in the ODI rankings, they would not like to leave things to chance.
West Indies will look to maximize their home advantage to fight for a whitewash, anything less will make it significantly difficult for them to qualify before the cut-off date in September. To dent their prospects further, West Indies will not have the services of Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Kieron Pollard or Carlos Brathwaite for the ODIs, due to their commitment to the upcoming IPL season. Meanwhile, a confident Pakistani side will strengthen their bowling with Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan coming back into the squad.
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Pakistan’s recent form in the ODIs hasn’t been promising, having won only one of their past five matches in the series against Australia. In addition to that, Sarfaraz Ahmed will take charge of the reigns for the first time in ODIs for Pakistan. He has been extremely successful as the T20 captain, with an astounding 87.5% win-percentage. What’s more 7 out of those 8 games have been against the West Indies. Sarfaraz cannot hope for a better start to his ODI campaign as a captain. Their last encounter with the West Indies was a 3-match ODI series in the UAE, which Pakistan won 3-0. All in all, Pakistan would have a psychological advantage over the West Indies in this series.
West Indies have hit a lean patch in their ODI form as well. Their last 10 ODI matches have yielded just one victory. The Englishmen whitewashed them in their own backyard earlier in March. Rubbing salt into their wounds is their odds to automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which are bleak to put it optimistically. With plenty of changes to their squad, Jason Holder will take over captaincy from the absent Carlos Brathwaite. West Indies will hope to defy the statistics, and play their best cricket to secure a 3-0 win in this series, keeping their eyes only on the 2019 World Cup qualification.
An 18 year-old leg-spinner with a mean googly, Shadab bagged the Man of the Series award with 10 wickets in four matches at a stunning strike rate of 9.50 in the t20 series. High on confidence, he is expected to debut in the ODI series. A live-wire on the field, he enjoys the game with a big smile on his face. West Indies will certainly want to avoid getting out to him.
With a marked liking for West Indian bowlers, Babar has scored 3 of his 4 centuries against them, and that too in back-to-back ODIs. He top scored in the t20 series, scoring 137 runs at an average of 34.25. Often touted as Pakistan’s great batting hope, he boasts an average of 53.09 in ODIs. Pakistan will bank on his form to set or chase big targets.
Introduced to ODIs only 6 months ago, Evin averages 31.62 with one century to his name. Coming off a match winning 91 from 51 balls, he will back himself to play the big shots he is famous for once settled. The left-hander was the second best scorer in the t20 series scoring 111 runs. He considers Chris Gayle to be his mentor, and is very fond of hitting big sixes.
The 20-year old right-arm fast bowler has been very effective, picking up 8 wickets in only 3 ODIs he has played. His best figures of 4/76 came against England in the recently concluded ODI series. He is consistent in hitting good lengths and can swing the ball at pace. He would certainly pose a lot of questions to the Pakistani batsmen.
Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Jonathan Carter, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton
Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Zakir, Babar Azam, Fahim Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz